Tuesday, February 10, 2015

"When The Company Plays With Its Employees’ Needs"

Playing With Employees' Needs
And I swear I didn’t say it myself. I heard it from a regional sales manager for a major multinational company I worked with some time ago. But so you can fully understand what it was supposed to mean, let me talk to you about the environment within which it was said.

A few weeks before, the company had decided to transfer to one of my colleagues the vehicle I had been working with for the past few years. Obviously, the untold message I received was crystal clear: the company wasn’t happy about my performance and decided to put pressure on me to somehow make me increase my sales numbers or induce me to resign.

And of course, since I was doing door-to-door selling, not having my car strongly reduced my ability to move from one place to the other. Even getting to the office for the early morning, daily meetings became a problem for me.

During the first three weeks, I was lucky a dear friend of mine, who was traveling to Miami by the same time, lent me his car and I was able to continue to work.

Three weeks later, I gave him his car back, and decided to rent one on my own, for a week, to continue working. The joke cost me around 250 euros, insurance included. At the end of the week, it was clear it couldn’t continue being like that and I decided to talk with the aforementioned manager.

What do you do if your employee is not planning to resign, but you don’t want him on your team any longer?

Common sense and legality indicate that if you, as a company, have decided an employee no longer fits what it was hired for and you want to let it go, you must calculate the money that is due according to current regulations, prepare the payment (or a wire transfer if you so prefer) and all corresponding documents, notify your employee of your decision, and that’d be it. A good handshake and moving on.

The employee is free to move on with his life and you’re free to hire someone who can do the job properly.

Unfortunately the reality we are living nowaday is far from what is indicated by common sense and legality. I’ve many friends who have experienced a situation like this: The company has decided it wants them out but doesn’t want to pay what is due and indicated by law, especially when it comes to those employees who have worked for the company for many, many years.

Which actions are companies making use of to ignore their economic obligations with their employees?:

Making use of illegitimate practices to pressure an employee and force him to resign, is not only illegal but dishonest.

Well, practices that are highly questionable and definitely dishonest, always from my point of view that is:

  • Not paying payrolls as it was agreed upon, and bringing up excuses such as the economic situation, the crisis and stuff like that.
  • Requiring employees to work much more hours than they were initially supposed to work, without paying them for it.
  • Requiring employees to take on roles within the company for which they were not hired.
  • Reducing wages, benefits or working conditions for the employee.

I have to tell you from those 4 things I mention above, I’ve personally experienced two. I’m sure there will be many other practices such like this, and even some more questionable, but hey... my goal with this post is not to focus our attention on the actions, but rather on the important role you can play as an entrepreneur, and in stories like these, to make things different and become an agent of change in a society that is claiming for it loudly.

And it’s then when you start playing with your employees’ needs.

It all starts with jokes as simple as: "Look, Francisco, you really have to do much better than what you’re doing, because there are many people out there who would do the your same job and more for half the pay" or "Unfortunately, we were not able to deposit your payroll this month because we have a customer who didn’t pay us on time."

Or the worst one I have had to listen, out of the mouth of the regional manager I mentioned at the beginning of this post: "The company offers you a 3,000 euros settlement. Your lawyer said it should be around 6,000. Sue the company and take it to Court and let's see what decision is being made then."

The money you pay your employees should be as sacred as the fidelity you expect them to have towards your business.

Everybody knows suing a company and taking it to court involves a process that can last for years. The company is also aware of it. That’s the reason it does what it does. The guy I‘m referring to continued his overbearing and arrogant speech by saying: "It’s your choice: If you want to wait out the trial, regardless of how long it might take, or you can simply take this settlement now, keep it cool and not fight anymore".

And finally, to place the icing on the cake, he added: "For our company it’s the same to pay you a thousand, 5.000 or 10.000 euros. What the company knows is that you cannot wait too long thus will end up accepting this settlement".

And it is at this point where I would like to invite you to focus: Do you want your company to be recognized by this kind of stories? Is this the image you want to create for your business within your community? That of a company which doesn’t honor the financial obligations it undertakes with its employees?

Sometimes, as a dear friend of mine says, "we must learn to turn things around and look at them from a different point of view", and doing so then: what would happen if you have to go through a situation like this yourself? What if you have to live it on first person? How would you feel?

And if you’d feel like that, why do you expect your employees not to feel the same way? Would not it be easier to do the right thing all along and leave a pleasant taste on everyone’s mouth?

Picture Credit: Sergey Nivens

I recommend you to read the following posts on this blog, which complement today's topic:
SMB can also be written with G of Greatness. 
Corporate Social Responsibility: Are we starting from the right point?
Sheer Visibility: Were You Familiar With This New Payment Form? 

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